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Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds

Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America

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An unprecedented account of the long-term cultural and political influences that Mexican-Americans will have on the collective character of our nation.In considering the largest immigrant group in American history, Gregory Rodriguez examines the complexities of its heritage and of the racial and cultural synthesis--mestizaje--that has defined the Mexican people since the Spanish conquest in the sixteenth century. He persuasively argues that the rapidly expanding Mexican American integration into the mainstream is changing not only how Americans think about race but also how we envision our nation. Brilliantly reasoned, highly thought provoking, and as historically sound as it is anecdotally rich, Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds is a major contribution to the discussion of the cultural and political future of the United States.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 31, 2007 – Despite its title, this volume from L.A. Times columnist Rodriguez is a thorough and accessible history of Mexico that emphasizes the legacy of mestizaje, mixed races, among Mexico's inhabitants. Beginning with Cortes's arrival in 1519, an elaborate system of racial classification was put into place to keep separate Spanish and native peoples. The failure of this system, Rodriguez argues, allowed for a more progressive and open-minded approach to race in Mexico compared with, for example, the U.S.: “In colonial New Mexico, mestizaje was the rule rather than the exception.” Black/white racial lines were nonexistent, as African natives merged effortlessly into Mexican society (which abolished slavery nearly 40 years before the States). Other developments include the Mexican American War and subsequent insurgencies in the huge swath of Mexican land ceded to the U.S.; the Mexican Revolution and the immigration wave it inspired; the backlash against Mexican-Americans during the depression years; and the Chicano movement of the 1960s and '70s. There's more at stake in Rodriguez's text than the latest immigration hullabaloo (he doesn't get around to addressing the past 30 years until the last chapter); aside from illuminating a complicated history and deeply contextualizing the present debate, the author takes on the concept of racial classification itself, calling for a change in attitude that more closely reflects the Mexican unifying idea of mestizaje, that we are all, to some extent, racially mixed “mongrels.”
Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans, and Vagabonds
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Oct 23, 2007
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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